Winter Camping Tips- Extend Your Camping Adventure

Winter Camping TipsEnd of camping season?  Many people put away their sleeping bags as winter sets in.  But today, we are sharing our winter camping tips.   So don’t pack up your camping kitchen just yet.  There’s more camping fun, adventures and memories to be made.

Winter Camping Tips

Check the weather.  Before you leave on your camping trip, check the weather.  Do you have the appropriate clothes and gear?  Are storms in the forecast?  Do you need to postpone your trip?  These are things you need to know before you go.

Get the appropriate gear for the season.  Sleeping bags have a temperature rating for a reason.  Using your summer sleeping bag in the winter can ruin a camping trip in a hurry.  Choose a sleeping bag that is rated for temperatures at least 10°F lower than the coldest temperature you are expecting.

4 season tents are designed for harsh, cold temperatures and snow.  3 season tents, aka all season tents, are fine for all other camping.

Don’t sleep directly on the cold ground. For extreme cold, you should also avoid air mattresses and cots.  A thick, sleeping pad will provide insulation to keep you warmer.

Choose the right clothing.  The key to winter camping is keeping dry and warm.  Start with a base layer that wicks moisture and sweat away from your skin.  Avoid cotton.   The middle layer should be a warm, preferably made of fleece or wool.  The outer layer is the wind and water layer.  This layer should include Gore-tex or at least 60/40 nylon.  For more information on dressing for cold weather, see our guest post by Suzi  here.

Wear a warm hat.  Body heat escapes Toddler Camping During Winterthrough your head, so wearing a warm hat can prevent this heat loss.  Wearing a hat while you are sleeping can keep you snug at night.

Never underestimate a good pair of socks.  Remember the rule.  Avoid cotton.

Keep hydrated.

Two words…hot chocolate.  Keep your camping trip fun and warm up around the campfire with your favorite hot beverage.  Don’t forget the marshmallows.

Comfort food is great for winter camping.Winter Camping Tips  Put away the cold sandwiches.  Hot chili and soups are a welcomed treat on cold, winter nights.  Keep it easy by making these ahead of time and heat them up in a Dutch oven over the campfire.

Warm up your sleeping bag before you get in it.  Heat up some water and put it in a heat-safe water bottle.  About 20 minutes before you go to bed, put this water bottle in your sleeping bag.

Consider alternative camping styles.  If you are not sure that you are up to the adventure of tent camping in the winter, consider yurt camping or cabin camping.  These camping styles still allow you to enjoy the campfire and other outdoor activities.  Remember when it comes to camping, love what you do and do what you love.  It’s your camping trip.

I’ll see ya around the campfire.

Tiffany

What tips would you add to this list?

For more tips on keeping warm during your outdoor adventures, see these posts by other outdoorsy moms:

Baby It’s Cold Outside

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Please Let It Snow

Winter Camping in Kananaskis

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Tiffany loves tent camping and knows how to bait a hook.

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Comments

  1. Make sure you have a large stack of wood close by to refuel your fire all night long. And figure out who will stoke the fire when ahead of time. Also, make sure you have some coffee or hot chocolate in the morning or you’ll never want to get out of your sleeping bag. :)

  2. Danielle Groves says:

    We just got back from a winter camping adventure with our 4 boys here in Ontario. I’m sure heading into the backcountry would be a lot more work but we did a car camping trip and it was great! The boys had a blast (age ranges from 3 to 8yrs old)! Foam mats with foam sleep pads in the tent worked best for us. We didn’t have -20 (celsius) sleeping bags but lots of extra blankets and quilt layers (and lots of snuggling) kept us all toasty warm at night.
    A great tip for keeping warm are those emergency blankets. You can sleep with them or sit with them around the fire for added warmth.
    We kept a bag of extra socks & mitts to switch up throughout the day as they got wet (hang them by the fire).
    And finally – we brought plastic bags in case (and it did happen) one of the kids got wet boots. It was a great quick fix to ensure that his feet stayed dry while we warmed him by the fire.

  3. Exploring the wilderness in winter is a wonderful experience. However, you need to recognize and avoid avalanche areas. Check the local avalanche forecast and don’t go if avalanche danger is high. If you’re camping in the snow, wear snow pants over your regular clothing. Most cold weather bags are designed to trap heat. The proper way to do this is to pull the drawstrings until the sleeping bag is around your face, not around your neck.

  4. Personally, I love to have hot chicken noodle soup in a thermos. It both is warming and nourishing. I also think it is a good idea to have a weather radio for winter camping, and tell people where you are going and when you’ll be back!

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